Table Talk 2015

woman whispers into a man's ear

Remember the blue publication that arrived in your mailbox more than ten years ago? With the advent of our web site, we no longer publish Table Talk. More information about the La Jolla & Beach Unit 526 can be found on the website than we could ever include in a one page newsletter, like Table Talk.

Geraldine Weiss becomes a silver life master

Charlotte Blum presents an silver life master award to Geraldine Weiss

Charlotte Blum, the awards chairman, presented a silver life master (1000 MP) award to Geraldine Weiss at the December 27, 2015 unit game.

Geraldine has a regular partnership with Michael Levine and plays in many sectionals and regionals.

New San Diego Bridge Clubs

Kathie Angione is opening the San Diego Bridge Club at 3366 Adams Avenue in the Masonic Hall; however for the first couple of months the location will be the Historic Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd. The club will have a game every Tuesday at 10:30 am, starting January 5th. This game fills a gap in the Kathie’s Eastlake Bridge Club schedule and it should help alleviate the pressure on Adventures in Bridge which regularly had a 45 table game on Tuesday at the old location, more than can be accommodated in its new location.

Joe Houde is expanding his franchise with the College Avenue Bridge Club (CABC) located at the Beth Jacob Synagogue at 4855 College Avenue south of I-8 near San Diego State University. The official opening is Monday February 22nd with open and 750 MP pairs events Monday through Friday. Joe’s business partner Steve Provol is at (858) 829-3251.

ACBL membership is aging 0.44 years / year

Every quarter the unit president receives a Quarterly Unit Information Package (QUIP) report showing various statistics for the unit, including membership, member gains/losses, new member retention, average member age, and average years of ACBL membership. For each category, comparisons are shown with the top unit in the district and for the ACBL as a whole. Drawing on several of these reports average membership age ACBL-wide in December from 2009–2015 has been 68.91, 69.45, 69.83, 70.37, 70.70, 71.23, and 71.56. Membership is aging an average of 0.44 years / year and at least 0.33 years / year in the best years.

Palm Springs regional table count up slightly

Gecko with suit symbols at each corner

The 2015 Palm Springs regional table count was up slightly this year at 3876 tables versus 3801 tables last year. This June’s Las Vegas regional attendance was only 3062 tables, so Palm Springs easily wins this year in what is often a very close race for the second and third largest regionals in the country behind the Gatlinburg regional which has become so large that it can eclipse a small national. For example, Gatlinburg in 2015 had 8649 tables, not far behind the poorly attended Providence RI national with 9573½ tables.

Bill Grant elected District 22 president

Unit member Bill Grant was elected the District 22 president at the district board meeting at Palm Springs. Andy Loh from the San Diego unit will be the district vice-president. Jim Parks from Atascadero will be secretary and David Lodge resume his role as treasurer after two years as president.

2015 Holiday Party


The unit holiday party was held December 13th at 11:30 am at the Soledad Club (flyer). The French Gourmet provided excellent and generous catering, arranged by board member Val Fragar, our holiday party chairperson. Val also brought her extensive wooden nutcracker collection for table decorations and set up the tables in pairs with help from board members Ursula Kantor and Lynne Anderson. Bob Brobst bought poinsettias for each table which were also the door prizes. Ron Ignelzi mixed the punch. Our treasurer Barbara Blake handled the reservations.

Two years ago when we last held the holiday party at the Soledad Club, we were squeezed by an NABC that finished on the Sunday of our holiday party and the Palm Springs regional that began the Monday afterwards. Though everyone had fun, attendance was only 12 tables. This year we didn’t have that problem and we rebounded to a healthy 24 tables, enough for a good web movement with 24 results on each of the 26 boards.

Carol Abramowitz becomes a silver life master

Charlotte Blum presents an silver life master award to Carol Abramowitz

Charlotte Blum, the awards chairman, presented a silver life master (1000 MP) award to Carol Abramowitz at the December 13, 2015 holiday party.

Carol is a regular in the Monday afternoon game at the Soledad Club playing with a variety of partners and also at Adventures in Bridge where she usually plays with Jerry Astrove or Mary Loehr.

Playing with a good sportsman

Unit board member Bob Brobst moves in rarified circles, regularly playing with Howard Weinstein, who won the 2015 Sportsmanship Award (ACBL login required). Bob says, “Howie played table tennis with a few of us on Wednesday mornings at the La Jolla recreation center for years; I didn’t connect him to bridge until the last year or so.”

Bob also reports that one the hands from the 2015 San Diego regional was featured in Larry Cohen’s Bridge Bulletin column in November (ACBL login required).

Grasshopper on the Tournament Trail

Grasshopper on the Tournament Trail
Grasshopper wanted to go on a journey.
“I will find a tournament trail,” he said.
“I will follow that trail wherever it goes.”
One morning Grasshopper found a trail.
It was long and well worn.
It had many tops and bottoms.
“This trail looks fine to me,” said Grasshopper.
“I am on my way!”

Read more.

Otto Newman and Bob Bedore passed away

Card for June Newman

Otto Newman passed away November 29, 2015 at his home at 93. His long and interesting life is detailed on Wikipedia. Otto was a regular in our unit game, always playing with his wife June in a happy marriage of 70 years! Together they ranked in the top 30 for attendance over the last eight years.

Bob Bedore passed away in mid-December. He was a regular in the Soledad Thursday night game until 2009, having an established partnership with Francy Starr in 2008 and with Jean Hughes in 2009, and played occasionally in the evening through 2012. Bob was also active in the Soledad Monday afternoon game until 2013, most frequently partnering with Francy Starr but also with Robert Sanders, and with Ed Layton who passed away in 2009.

Adventures in Bridge relocating to Clairemont

It’s official. Adventures in Bridge is moving to a shopping area in Clairemont just off I-805 at the Balboa exit. The new address is 5939 Balboa Ave, San Diego, CA 92111. The plan is to hold the last game at the current location on December 19, 2015 and begin play at the new location on December 20th, assuming site modification are completed on time. The new phone number is (858) 569-5095.

Adventures in Bridge has been at its current location for four and half years. The five year lease finished at the end of May 2016 but Adventures in Bridge was offered financial incentives to leave sooner. Finding a new location with sufficient parking was a severe challenge which was not fully met during this relocation. The new location reduces the club’s total table count from 55 to 33, a change that has a big impact on the club which had weekly events that are routinely 45 tables across three pair events (open, 1499er, and NLM). Sectional planning for several units is also affected.

Ken Monzingo elected as the 2016 ACBL President

This just in—our district director Ken Monzingo has been elected the 2016 ACBL President. His term will start at the Passing of the Gavel ceremony at the Palm Springs regional in December. Ken has pushed for terms limits on the National Board of Directors and though his efforts to date have failed, he has announced his intention to follow his principles and step down when his current term ends at the close of 2017. He will therefore serve his second to last year as ACBL President and his last year as chairman of the board as per the ACBL bylaws whereby the president automatically becomes chairman of the Board of Directors. Note: both the ACBL president and the board chairman and members of the executive committee, along with three other board members, and the ACBL treasurer (non-voting role).

Joe Houde takes over from Matthew Belau

Joe Houde

As of October 2015, the Scripps Ranch Bridge Club is now the Queen of Hearts Bridge Club, still at the Scripps Ranch Community Center. Matthew Belau wrote: “As most of you know, we have had quite a lot of fun at the Scripps Ranch Community Center the past seven years… it’s never been about making money, and is not now. It’s about getting back some free time.” The very competent Joe Houde is directing at the new club.

Club Table Counts

Every year the ACBL publishes the list of clubs with the highest table counts for the previous year in the Bridge Bulletin. Now you can find this information on the ACBL website: 2015 to date, 2014, 2015 to date (D22 only), 2014 (D22 only). The top District 22 clubs are Laguna Woods, Adventures in Bridge, and Dana Harbor. Last year total club table count was ~14,000 in the San Diego unit vs. ~2,000 in the La Jolla unit. This reflects both the 2.4x larger membership of the San Diego unit and the dominance of Adventures in Bridge. In the online world, Bridge Base Online (BBO) now outdraws OKbridge about 7 to 1 in ACBL sanctioned table count.

Kevin Lane prevails in D23 Board of Directors election

Kevin Lane

Kevin Lane has prevailed in the 2015 District 23 (Los Angeles area) national board of directors election, the position Ken Monzingo holds in our district, despite behind the scenes opposition from Suzi Subeck, the current ACBL president. He beat incumbent Rand Pinsky 55-34 in raw votes and by the slightly smaller margin of 59% to 41% in the weighted voting result that actually determines the outcome. The electors are the unit board member for each unit in the district and their votes are weighted by the number of members in each unit and the number of unit board members in each unit such that each elector represents an equal number of players in the district.

Kevin has spoken frequently about bridge administration issues, technology issues, the damaging lack of transparency at ACBL headquarters, and the future of bridge, on the Bridge Winners website. A list of his postings and comments on other postings can be found on his Bridge Winners profile page. He has regularly provided detailed and insightful commentary on motions before the National BoD and in 2013 he presented a detailed course of action on technology issues. Unit president Matthew Kidd cheers Kevin’s success and wishes him well: “Kevin stands for real change I believe his emphasis on ‘reality-based, fact-driven ACBL policy’ and transparency is sorely needed at this time. Regarding transparency, Kevin may well be able to achieve with level-headedness, worthy ends that Ken Monzingo sought but obscured in emotionalism.”

Fantoni-Nunes busted—the rats are being flushed out

card shark showing the eight of diamonds

The once supposedly world class partnership of Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes has been busted for cheating. Boye Brogeland, assisted by fellow experts Ishmael Del’Monte, Brad Moss, Kit Woolsey, Jeff Meckstroth, Chris Willenken, Norman Beck, Tom Hanlon, Per-Ola Cullin, and Steve Weinstein, has presented compelling statistical evidence, backed by hand records and video footage, that the pair was cheating in numerous events by a prearranged signalling method involving the orientation of the opening lead. They confirmed a prearranged signalling theory first put forward by Maaijke Mevius from the Netherlands. Michael Clark has summarized the evidence in a video that shows many leads and the cards in the suit led. Other prearranged signals are alleged but to date only the most statistically compelling method has been presented.

The evidence is very damning. Hopefully the national bridge organizations (NBOs) and the ACBL will take appropriate disciplinary action. A lifetime ban from the game is certainly merited. A ten year ban, including a lifetime ban on Fantoni and Nunes playing as a partnership, would be an absolute minimum punishment.

The Fantoni-Nunes scandal has arrived less than two weeks after the unraveling of the Lotan Fisher and Ron Schwartz partnership, where video evidence was also key. Michael Clark has summarized the evidence against this pair in a video.

September 19th update: Germany withdraws from the Bermuda Bowl after Alex Smirnov admits there is some truth to the rumors circulating about his partnership with Josef Piekarek. Also see Roy Welland’s statement and apology to Boye Brogeland and also Sabine Auken’s statement, both former teammates of Smirnov-Piekarek.

September 23rd update: The cheating story has trickled down to Newsweek.

September 25th update: The Polish pair Cezary Balicki and Adam Zmudzinski falls under suspicion as the credentials committee of the World Bridge Federation withdraws the pair’s invitation to the Bermuda Bowl.

October 30th update: Lotan Fisher, Ron Schwartz, Fulvio Fantoni, and Claudio Nunes have had their ACBL memberships suspended, pending hearings on charges brought before the ACBL Ethical Oversight Committee.

March 9, 2016 update: Rolling Stone magazine picks up the story. See Tricks, Tics and Taps: The Cheating Scandal Rocking Professional Bridge.

June 4, 2016 update: Fisher-Schwartz cheating code full cracked. This reduces their defensive wiggling room to zero.

George Humphrey passed away

George Humphrey

George Humphrey passed away at home on September 28, 2015 after a brief battle with cancer. He was a regular at Adventures in Bridge where he had established partnerships with Ben Domurat and Linda Willingham. He also occasionally played with Gail Dunham and Jeffrey Holmes and in our unit games.

Born in Oakland, California, on September 18, 1938, George and his wife Dee made their home in San Jose where he was an electrical engineer by profession, first with Lockheed and later as a lead engineer with ESL/TRW before his retirement. In the Mad Men era, he was a proud nerd. He was instrumental in many projects involving national security.

George and Dee were gracious hosts to gatherings large and small, impromptu celebrations and planned events. This fit in well with George’s love of playing cards—all kinds, but bridge was his favorite. He met his future wife, Dee, at a bridge club. George played many other games—cribbage, canasta, poker. He was brilliant at all of these, but we always told him he was just lucky. And that’s fine.

He failed to draw trump

Sculpture from Gilgal Gardens

Stanford is runner up in the Collegiate Bridge Bowl

Joshua Wang, Adam Kaplan, Erli Zhou, Ling-Ling Zhang, Edward Yang and Emily Kelly

Emily Kelly (far right), unit board member Ursula Kantor’s granddaughter, played on the Stanford team which was the runner up at the Collegiate Bridge Bowl at the 2015 summer NABC in Chicago.

The final against Chicago was close until Chicago gained 38 IMPs on the first five boards of the last quarter and held on to them for the victory.

Marvin French Movement

For the August 9th game, director Marc Matz ran what he is coining as the Marvin French movement. 17 tables is awkward. With 18 tables, the field is normally split into two 9 tables section with 3 board / round so that each pair meets all the other pairs in opposite direction within their section. With 16 tables, 13 rounds of 2 boards each allows each pair to encounter 81% of the opponents in the opposite direction. If 17 tables is split into two sections, one section will play only 24 boards at 3 boards / round or there will be a different number of boards per round in each section which is awkward to direct. If 17 tables is run as a single section, only 76% of the pairs in opposite direction will be encountered, reducing fairness. One solution is run 14 rounds for a total of 28 boards. This requires fast players… but the unit game players proved up to task. For more read Fairness in Duplicate Pairs Games.

Fourteen Flat

Board 14 from the August 9th unit game was that rarest of results, a completely flat board in a large field. 14 identical results, presumably 4♠ making 5 though curiously N-S can also make 5 on their 4-2 fit! Many of the standard conditions for a very flat board are present: clear major suit game (9 card fit) with notrump seemingly inferior (though +660 is available here), and no two way finesses (it’s possible to run the ♣J here and then later finesse the ♣9 if West covers the ♣J but that is a much worse line than simply finessing the ♣J unless you are very sure West has the ♣Q).

Cass Donovan Memorial

Cass Donavon

Cass Donovan passed away at 6 pm on July 25th. The unit held a memorial for her at noon on Sunday August 9th, an hour before the unit game. Debbie Hedenberg organized the hospitality with help from Judy Elsberry, Judy Hunter, Sydney Jones, and Ann Manaster. Read the memories.

Cass began playing bridge during college in Omaha and took up duplicate bridge in 1997. She has served on the La Jolla unit board since at least 2001, longer than any other recent board member.

Sydney Jones, Ann Manaster, Judy Elsberry, Debbie Hedenberg, and Judy Hunter
Enlarge This ImageSydney Jones, Ann Manaster, Judy Elsberry, Debbie Hedenberg, and Judy Hunter

Ivar Stakgold becomes an emerald life master

Charlotte Blum presents an emerald life master award to Ivar Stakgold

Charlotte Blum, the awards chairman, presented an emerald life master (7500 MP) award to Ivar Stakgold at the July 12, 2015 unit game.

Ivar is a mathematician who has done far more than accumulate masterpoints. He holds five national titles: the Silodor Open Pairs, Vanderbilt Knockout Teams, and Reisinger Board-a-Match Teams (all in 1958—what a year!), Spingold Master Knockout Teams (1962), and the Mixed BAM Teams (1969), and has three second place NABC finishes. And he has a 1959 second place finish in the Bermuda Bowl with teammates Harry Fishbein, Sam Fry Jr. Leonard Harmon, Lee Hazen, and Sidney Lazard. He even has a Wikipedia page.

The Platinum LM and Grand LM ranks both require 10,000 MP but the latter requires winning a national title. Holding not one, but rather five national titles and having earned many of his masterpoints before the great masterpoint inflation of the new millennium, Ivar is surely an honorary Grand LM whether or not he sits in a chair for another 2,500 MP.

Even if you have not met Ivar at the bridge table his name may be sound familiar because Ivar is a regular contributor to the It’s Your Call bidding forum of the Contract Bridge Forum newspaper.

Ivar’s mathematical work concentrated on boundary value problems, i.e. scenarios where a continuous (smooth) function is to be determined over a volume given a knowledge of its values or derivatives on a surface. These problems are highly relevant to both classical and quantum physics and have numerous practical engineering applications. One such practical application is the time evolution of the temperature within a solid when heat is applied to the surface of the solid.

2014-2015 Annual Financial Report

Financial spreadsheet logo

The 2014-2015 unit annual financial report is available in summary form with comparisons to the previous three financial years and also in a month-by-month form (Excel file icon, Excel file icon) showing month-by-month income and expense.

The unit showed a profit of $820.36 for the 2014-2015 year. More than half of the profit ($429.20) was generated by investment income. The unit would like to thank our treasurer Barbara Blake for the careful preparation of these reports and a sensible investment strategy.

May sectional profit was down significantly from the previous year, approximately $400 vs. $1,800 last year. But this was partly offset by a $1 increase in the table fees last November and the stabilization of the average table count at 17.0 for FY 2014-2015 after a concerning dip to 15.6 in FY 2013-2014.

2015 Election Results


Five unit board terms expired in June. At our Annual Meeting and Election game on June 14th, Lynne Anderson and Ron Ignelzi were reelected to a 2015-2017 term. Bob Brobst, Val Frager, and Mary Scott Knoll joined the board bringing us back up to our full strength of ten board members.

At the July meeting, the unit board chose to keep the current set of officers 2015-2016: Matthew Kidd as president, Ursula Kantor as vice-president, Barbara Blake as treasurer, and Lynne Anderson as secretary.

Bob Brobst had a successful run betting on horses for profit. His first love is tennis but bridge is a close second. He has been playing with Matthew Kidd at the Soledad Club Thursday night game for several months and at other locations around town. Val Frager is a regular at the Beach and Tennis Club, has helped with the La Jolla High teaching for the last three years, and co-chaired our January 2015 NLM sectional with Ron Ignelzi (tournament report). Mary Scott Knoll switched units to serve on our board. She is president of the local chapter of the Aztec Bridge Club, has served on the San Diego unit board as NLM tournament chair, was the major driver for the Shuffle, Deal, and Cook youth bridge fundraiser, and is a Soledad Thursday night regular, partnering with Thomas Burgeson.

The new members bring a welcome diversity to our board which should allow us to better serve our entire unit and the greater San Diego bridge community, both existing and yet untapped. I believe this will translate into concrete action; for example by hosting a Learn Bridge in a Day session within our unit.

Marvin French resurrected

Marvin French

He is baaaack! Or at least his website is. The webhosting contract for Marvin’s original website lapsed in 2015, a few months after his death. Shortly after Evan Bailey passed away I told Marvin that I had vacuumed up a copy of Evan’s website so that I could re-host it after the webhosting contract lapsed. Marvin was happy to hear that and hoped I would do the same for him after he “kicked the bucket.” So here you go, Marvin!

Marvin French’s many contributions to bridge literature include Squeeze Refresher, his Bidding Handbook (Four-Card Majors: Western Natural Updated), Defense Handbook, AmBIGuous Diamond Bidding System, Skeleton Bidding System, Party Bridge Guide, Beating the Experts, Fairness in Duplicate Pairs Games. Five vs. Four, and other bridge articles. He also wrote about blackjack, literature, and reasoned skepticism.

New Tournament Flight: Mid-Flight

For 2015, the ACBL is experimenting with a new flight for pairs events, called the Mid-flight, that would fit between the Gold Rush (0-750) and the open flight. Recall that flighted events are separated whereas the players in a stratified event play each other but are ranked in their strat and all higher strats for the purpose of awarding masterpoints. A typical mid-flight event would have an upper limit of 3000 MP and strats of 1500 and 3000 MP. The second change is the addition of a third strat to open A/X events. Typical strats might be 1500, 3000, and unlimited.

I take a dim view of Mid-flight. At some point players need to grow up and face real opponents. This should be the Gold Rush Graduation. Adding a third strat to open events is a great idea so long as all the players in the lowest strat aren’t drawn away by Mid-flight events. This gives new graduates a chance to continue winning masterpoints, a necessary motivation for some, while being exposed to serious bridge.

Trish Lane’s Recipes

bowl of vegetables

Players have really enjoyed Trish Lane’s hospitality offerings at our unit games and some have asked for recipes. Trish reveals three recipes.

Greg Chaffee and David Oakley won the Weiss Trophy

Greg Chaffee and David Oakley pose with the Weiss Trophy

Greg Chaffee and David Oakley won the Weiss Trophy at the June 14th Annual Meeting and Election unit game.

This pair also won the Weiss Trophy in 2002. David holds the record for the most number of Weiss trophy wins, having also won the trophy with his wife Pauline in 1976 and David Walters in 2009.

Phyllis Pankow, Irv Gold, Gail Whiteley, Doug Woodworth, Ornette Coleman, and Omar Sharif all passed away this summer

Irv Gold
Irv Gold
Irv Gold
Doug Woodworth
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif

Phyllis Pankow, Irv Gold, and Gail Whiteley all passed away in June 2015. Doug Woodworth passed away on July 1st.

Phyllis was 88 when she passed away on June 8th. She had a regular partnership with Betty-Jo Petersen at our unit game and with Ralph Baty on Thursday nights at the Soledad Club until Ralph passed away last summer. She had also regularly partnered with Mary Anne Scott and Alice Leicht and also with Elizabeth Garber, Jeffrey Holmes and Vi Breckenridge at AIB.

Irv Gold was 73 when he passed away on June 9th. He lived in Carmel Valley but played regularly in our unit game in 2013 and 2014, often partnering with Valerie Gwin.

Gail Whiteley lived in San Marcos.

Judge Woodworth passed away at age 87 from pulmonary fibrosis after a short hospital stay. He had his family with him at the end. Read his obituary. A memorial service will be held at All Soul's Episcopal Church at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 8. It will be followed by a reception at The Thursday Club in Point Loma. The family encourages donations to the San Diego Rescue Mission, The Committee of 100, or a charity of choice.

Ornette Coleman passed away on June 11th at age 85. He wasn’t a bridge player but so what—put down your cards and crank up the The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959). What a badass!, the last of a generation.

Omar Sharif, the Egyptian-born actor known for his roles in Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, passed away on July 10th. He also knew a thing or two about bridge. Asked why he spent so much time at bridge when he could have been making movies, he once replied: “The real question is why I spend so much time making movies when I could be playing bridge.” Memories from the bridge community and Quotes.

Anne Terry Update

Good news: the evening after my report at the June 14th San Diego unit game that Anne Terry had stopped eating two weeks prior, her daughter sent me this update:

Mom is back! Somehow with the care of hospice and the gals at the house, Mom has made a miraculous recovery. Those German genes won't stop! Guess they are pretty darn strong! As the hospice nurse told me: it will be like a roller coaster ride! So we are on it!

Unit Zero Tolerance Form

In May 2015 we had a Zero Tolerance incident at our unit game. I am happy to say it did not involve one our regular players but disappointed to see it happen at all. Although the unit had previously upheld its commitment to the Zero Tolerance policy and was prepared to take action, the complaintant requested that we not do so. However, during the ensuing discussion it became apparent that the unit was remiss in not have a Zero Tolerance report form. As a result we have created a form, modeled after the San Diego unit’s form. Printed copies will be available at unit games and it can also be downloaded from the unit website via the Resource → Zero Tolerance Form menu.

Review of Innovative Slam Bidding

Cover of Innovative Slam Bidding book

Even world class players only bid about half the available double dummy slams at team play where slam bidding can result in a game swing. Life masters in pair events are only bidding 28% of their slams.

Irwin Landow thinks we can do better. Read more about his book Innovative Slam Bidding.

Find a unit game partner online

ACBL Partnership Desk

The ACBL has a new online partnership desk. It works for all ACBL sanctioned events, including tournaments, clubs games, and even unit games. Try the U526 unit game link (ACBL login required). The Partnership Desk functionality is new but please give it a try. I had Bruce Knoll at ACBL headquarters run some database queries for me. 60,000 of you have logged into the ACBL at least once since the ACBL website was overhauled last summer, which works out to almost exactly half the players who have attended at least one tournament since that time. You probably logged in to check your masterpoints. Get ready to do more on the ACBL website.

NABC Fund-Raising Game Money Grab

outstretched hand

Should D22 players financially subsidize NABC hospitality for the Fall 2017 San Diego NABC? It doesn’t seem logical to me. Read more.

Dale Phillips and Peter Clark are (bronze) life masters

Charlotte Blum, the awards chairman, presented a bronze life master award to Dale Phillips and a life master award to Peter Clark at the April 26, 2015 unit game. Peter joined the ACBL after the new life master requirements went into effect January 1, 2010 so he is effectively a bronze life master under the old system.

Diana Marquardt becomes a gold life master

Charlotte Blum presents a gold life master award to Diana Marquardt

Charlotte Blum, the awards chairman, presented a gold life master award to Diana Marquardt at the April 12, 2015 unit game.

Diana is a doctor and a hospital administrator. She was a regular partner in our unit games with Steve Johnson before Steve moved to Hawaii.

April Fools joke at the San Diego regional

The celebrity speakers at the annual San Diego regional are getting more interesting every year. This year we had a prominent Air Force general and a local expert from the past. The unknown prankster appears to be cynical about the ACBL’s Zero Tolerance policy and/or the organization’s commitment to the policy.

Old school cool

Chorus Girls Relax (1928)
Enlarge This ImageChorus girls relaxing between scenes during the filming of Broadway (1928)

Look close. They’re playing our game and even have a kibitzer. Perhaps a third of adults in the United States played bridge back in 1920s.

ACBL Technology committee Q&A in New Orleans

The ACBL Technology committee held a Q&A session at the New Orleans NABC. There is much to note. They released a two hour video of the session on YouTube which I’ve tried to distill in a commentary with many excerpts that can be read in 10–15 minutes. Much of the discussion involves the replacement of ACBLscore and the discontinuation of work on ACBLscore+ announced last summer at the Las Vegas NABC. Our district director, Ken Monzingo, has been supporting ACBL management in a knee jerk manner but the reality appears much more nuanced. ACBL members deserve a detailed and balanced assessment of the ACBL’s role in the ACBLscore+ debacle.

2014 Mini-McKenney and Ace of Clubs results

Anant Rathi
Anant Rathi

The 2014 La Jolla Unit Masterpoint Race Winners are final. Anant Rathi also won his Mini-McKenney bracket (300-500) at the district level and placed fourth at the national level. Carol Abramowitz (500-1000), and Elaine Chan (1000-2500) convincingly won their Mini-McKenney brackets. Helen Miller was just behind Frank Fu in the 0-5 Mini-McKenney bracket and Bill Grant was just behind David Abelow in the 5000-75000 bracket.

January 2015 NLM sectional tournament report

The January 2015 non-life master (NLM) sectional was our most successful NLM tournament since the unit resumed hosting NLM sectionals in 2012. Ron Ignelzi, the tournament co-chairman, has written a tournament report (includes pictures).

Tolstoy understood bridge players

The dead man lay, as dead men always lie, in a specially heavy way…

He [Peter Ivanovich] felt that Schwartz was above all these happenings and would not surrender to any depressing influences. His very look said that this incident of a church service for Ivan Ilych could not be a sufficient reason for infringing the order of the session — in other words, that it would certainly not prevent his unwrapping a new pack of cards and shuffling them that evening while a footman placed fresh candles on the table… Read more.

2014 President’s Awards

Continuing his emphasis on partnerships and statistics rather than individuals and what the late great Victor Mollo called monster points, unit president Matthew Kidd presented the second annual President’s awards at the January 11, 2015 unit game based on the unit game results for 2014.